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The complete guide to American Express Membership Rewards partners

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post regularly updated with the latest information.

It’s no wonder why TPG staffers (and our readers) love American Express Membership Rewards points. You can transfer Amex points to high-value airline programs like Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, ANA Mileage Club, Avianca LifeMiles and British Airways Avios. That way, you can book flights on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines — often at a fraction of the price their own loyalty programs charge for award tickets.

In addition to airlines, Amex has three hotel programs you can transfer points to: Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

In this guide, we’ll dive into these Membership Rewards partners so you can learn the best ways to make the most of your Amex points for your next trip.

Cards you can use to earn Amex Membership Rewards

Qatar Airways_Qsuite_Facebook_3
You can use your Amex points to book the ultra-sought-after Qsuite. QATAR AIRWAYS/FACEBOOK

Before we start, it’s essential to understand that you need an eligible American Express card to earn Membership Rewards points. This includes most Amex-branded cards, such as the American Express® Gold Card.

That said, you won’t find credit cards like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card on this list, as these cards earn points and miles in their respective currencies. Cash-back cards like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express do not earn Membership Rewards points either.

Several popular Membership Rewards-earning cards currently offer generous welcome bonuses:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $8,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. However, some readers have been targeted for up to a 125,000-point bonus using the CardMatch tool (offer subject to change at any time). Terms apply.
  • American Express Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of card membership. However, some readers have been targeted for up to 75,000 bonus points using the CardMatch tool (offer subject to change at any time). Terms apply.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first three months of card membership. Terms apply.
  • American Express® Business Gold Card: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months of card membership. Terms apply.

Look through our list of the best Amex cards and find one (or more) that works best for your spending habits. We recommend using a combination of Amex cards daily to earn the most rewards possible. For example, you can use the Amex Platinum to earn 5 points per dollar spent on flights (on up to $500,000 in purchases each calendar year) and the Amex Gold to earn 4 points per dollar spent on dining at worldwide restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar).

Related: How to redeem American Express Membership Rewards for maximum value

Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners

Now, let’s get to the fun part: transfer partners.

American Express has 18 airline and three hotel transfer partners. These partners include at least one useful option in each major alliance: SkyTeamStar Alliance and Oneworld. Each partner has various use cases; we’ll highlight a couple for each below.

Note that most transfers happen at a 1:1 ratio, though there are exceptions. It’s also worth checking for a transfer bonus in your online account. Getting an extra 30% in rewards could easily turn a mediocre transfer option into a potent one.

Related: How long do American Express Membership Rewards take to transfer?

Aer Lingus AerClub

AerClub is the loyalty program of Aer Lingus, an Irish airline based in Dublin.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any great uses for these points. You can get a better deal on Aer Lingus flights when you transfer Amex points to British Airways.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: Which airlines can I book with Avios?

Aeromexico Club Premier

Aeromexico business class center seats

Aeromexico Club Premier is the loyalty program of Mexico City-based Aeromexico. This currency is best used on around-the-world itineraries that let you make multiple stops as you travel the world. When booked in business class, these tickets can easily be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Aeromexico prices award tickets slightly differently than other airlines, using kilometers instead of miles. Around-the-world tickets cost 224,000 kilometers in economy and 352,000 kilometers in business class. Since points transfer from Amex to Aeromexico at a 1:1.6 ratio, you’d need just 140,000 or 220,000 Amex points for economy or business class, respectively.

That said, we don’t recommend transferring your Amex points to Aeromexico. Award rates generally aren’t competitive, and around-the-world tickets can be challenging to book.

Transfer time: 24 hours

Transfer ratio: 1:1.6

Related: What you need to know about Aeromexico’s dynamic award pricing

Air Canada Aeroplan

Air Canada Aeroplan underwent a significant overhaul in 2020, making it one of the most valuable transfer partners for American Express. The revamped program retained its standard award charts, eliminated fuel charges and introduced generous stopover rules. This means you can make the most of a stopover and explore two cities on a single trip.

For instance, you can book a business-class flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to Mumbai, India’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) for just 105,000 points when there’s saver award space. Additionally, you can enjoy an extended stopover in Hong Kong.

Take a look at the Aeroplan award chart (PDF link) and see if it makes sense to transfer Amex points to Air Canada for your next redemption.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: The 26 best credit cards for earning Aeroplan points

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

Air France and KLM Planes

Air France and KLM share a joint loyalty program called Flying Blue. This SkyTeam loyalty program dynamically prices all awards but frequently offers great deals on international award tickets. For example, you can often find business-class flights from the U.S. to Europe from just 55,000 points one-way.

Unfortunately, you’ll pay moderate fuel surcharges ($250 to $400) on most international business-class routes. That said, always check Flying Blue to see if it makes sense for your next international SkyTeam redemption. It’s often cheaper than booking similar awards with Aeromexico Club Premier or Delta SkyMiles.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: Europe awards starting at 11,250 miles: This month’s Flying Blue Promo Rewards

All Nippon Airways Mileage Club

As an American Express transfer partner, ANA Mileage Club has gained popularity among points and miles enthusiasts. This is mainly due to the opportunity to secure excellent award deals with open jaws and stopovers. However, it’s worth noting that the carrier only permits round-trip award bookings.

For instance, you can book a round-trip business-class flight from the U.S. to Europe for just 88,000 miles on Star Alliance partners. ANA Mileage Club also offers great value for off-peak ANA flights, with round-trip tickets from the U.S. to Asia starting at 75,000 miles during off-peak periods. Additionally, you can enjoy a stopover on your journey, allowing you to explore two cities for the price of one.

Another fantastic option is using ANA Mileage Club miles for around-the-world tickets with reasonable pricing and straightforward routing rules.

It’s important to remember that ANA passes on fuel surcharges to customers for some airlines. This means you may have to pay over $1,000 for a round-trip business-class ticket to Europe on partners like Swiss and Lufthansa. However, certain airlines, such as ANA, United (on Europe routes) and LOT Polish Airlines, have low or no surcharges.

Transfer time: 48 hours

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Avianca LifeMiles

Avianca Airbus A320neo LAX

Avianca LifeMiles is another excellent Star Alliance transfer partner. Like ANA, the airline has mostly kept a standard award chart, so there’s no dynamic pricing to worry about. You’ll find the best deals on one-way business- and first-class flights to Europe and domestic flights on United, but there are other good redemptions.

On the U.S.-to-Europe side, you’ll pay 63,000 LifeMiles each way for most business-class flights. You can lower this price by choosing to fly in economy on the short leg of a multistop ticket. Suppose I book a Lufthansa flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Prague Airport (PRG) via Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in business class but select economy class on the Frankfurt to Prague segment. In that case, the flight drops to 62,000 LifeMiles one-way.

Again, domestic United flights are another excellent deal. The LifeMiles award chart is split into three regions that roughly correspond to the East Coast, the Midwest and the West Coast. The more regions you fly, the more miles you’ll need. We’ve found the cheapest domestic awards cost just 6,500 LifeMiles one-way in economy.

Unlike ANA Mileage Club, Avianca LifeMiles doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges. You’ll pay the standard taxes and fees plus a nonrefundable booking fee of $10 to $25. This makes it an excellent option for booking tickets on high-surcharge carriers like Lufthansa.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: 3 ways Avianca LifeMiles should improve its loyalty program

British Airways Executive Club

British Airways Executive Club is one of the most commonly used Amex transfer partners. You can use its currency — dubbed Avios — to book flights on all Oneworld carriers. You’ll want to avoid using them on British Airways flights as they add substantial fuel surcharges, but you can get a great deal when booking partner flights.

The British Airways award chart is distance-based, so longer flights will cost more points. It also prices awards by segment, so you should try to stick to nonstop routings whenever possible.

In the U.S., one of the best ways to redeem British Airways Avios is on domestic short-haul American Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights. You’ll pay just 7,500 Avios for flights up to 600 miles and 9,000 Avios for a one-way flight up to 1,151 miles with minimal taxes and fees. Or, consider using just 26,000 Avios to book round-trip economy tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii on either American or Alaska.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: Complete guide to earning British Airways Avios

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is another Oneworld transfer partner that can be useful for partner awards. Your best bet is using Asia Miles to book Cathay Pacific flights. You’ll get a solid redemption value and access to Cathay Pacific award space that’s not bookable with partner miles. The airline has a standard award chart for its flights, which you can see on the Asia Miles website.

As discussed, the award chart is reasonable for Cathay Pacific flights. You can book nonstop flights from HKG to LAX for 70,000 miles when there’s award space. Longer flights from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and JFK, on the other hand, cost 85,000 miles one-way.

Just note that the program will implement some significant changes to its award chart as of Oct. 1, 2023, so try to lock in any awards prior to that date.

Transfer time: 48 hours

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: The best websites for searching Oneworld award availability

Delta SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles is a valuable domestic transfer partner. While Delta is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, it’s usually best to use your miles for domestic flights. Award pricing for international tickets, especially in business class, can be quite expensive.

However, there are still excellent deals with SkyMiles award tickets. Sometimes, you can snag one-way basic economy tickets for as low as 4,500 SkyMiles, depending on the cash price of the flight. Additionally, holders of cobranded Delta credit cards enjoy at least 15% off Delta-operated award flights. It’s always worth checking SkyMiles availability when searching for domestic flights to potentially find a great deal.

Delta SkyMiles can also be used for affordable flights to Canada. Delta operates some flights, while others are operated by its partner WestJet. Delta awards have dynamic pricing, but WestJet awards consistently cost 12,500 SkyMiles for a one-way economy ticket between the U.S. and Canada when booked at least one month in advance.

However, it’s worth noting that you must pay a small fee when transferring Amex points to Delta SkyMiles. This offsets the federal excise tax that Amex pays on these transfers to U.S. airline programs. It’s $0.0006 per point (with a maximum of $99), so transferring 50,000 points would incur $30 in fees. Just don’t pay for that fee with points, as you’ll get just 0.5 cents in value.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: Quick Points: How to avoid excise tax offset fees on point transfers from American Express

Emirates Skywards

If you want to use your Amex points to book flights on Emirates, you might consider transferring them to Emirates Skywards. Remember that flights to Dubai International Airport (DXB) may have high fuel surcharges. You can generally avoid them when flying Emirates’ fifth freedom flights from the U.S. to Europe.

Emirates Skywards follows a distance-based award chart for all tickets. Air Canada Aeroplan also offers Emirates award flights, so it’s worth comparing their rates.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: Fancy a drink at the bar? A review of Emirates business class on the A380 from Dubai to New York

Etihad Guest

Etihad Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner business class
Etihad Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner business class. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Etihad Guest went from one of the best to one of the worst Amex transfer partners when the airline simplified its program earlier this year. It introduced a new chart with standard pricing for all partner airlines and slightly different rates for Etihad’s own flights.

The major devaluation comes from partner awards. Previously attractive options, such as flying American Airlines Flagship First or Brussels Airlines business class, have seen significant increases in redemption rates. For example, a flight from LAX to Sydney Airport (SYD) that used to cost 62,500 miles now requires 200,000 miles. As a result, there’s very little reason to consider transferring Amex points to Etihad.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: Here are 9 of our favorite ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

HawaiianMiles are most valuable when used for economy-class flights to Hawaii. Award rates vary depending on availability. Saver award space offers the lowest prices, while higher-demand flights require more points.

The pricing for HawaiianMiles awards is reasonable. For instance, a one-way economy class ticket from Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) to LAX costs 20,000 miles. In comparison, business class costs 40,000 miles when saver space is available. This is a decent option if you want to experience Hawaiian Airlines. However, you might find better deals using Avios for flights on American or Alaska or transferring to Singapore KrisFlyer for United flights.

Like Delta, you’ll need to pay the federal excise tax offset fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring Amex points to Hawaiian.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: Best ways to redeem points and miles on Hawaiian Airlines

Iberia Plus

Like British Airways, Iberia Plus uses Avios as its loyalty currency. The airline has a standard award chart for all Iberia and partner flights, which can be pretty reasonable.

Your best bet for using Iberia Plus Avios is redeeming for off-peak awards on Iberia flights from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), ORD or JFK to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD). These flights cost just 17,000 Avios in economy, 25,500 in premium economy and 34,000 in business class one-way.

However, it’s worth noting that British Airways now uses identical pricing (including taxes and fees) on these Iberia-operated awards. And since transfers to British Airways are instant while transfers to Iberia take up to 48 hours, you’re likely better off transferring your Amex points to British Airways.

Transfer time: 48 hours

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: 4 versions of Avios: When to use Aer Lingus, Qatar Airways, Iberia and British Airways

JetBlue TrueBlue

JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program prices award flights based on the cost of a cash flight; the more a flight costs, the more points you’ll pay to book it. The TPG team has found that you’ll get roughly 1.3 cents per point when redeeming points, but you may get slightly more or less depending on your specific flight.

We don’t usually recommend transferring Amex points to JetBlue because of the limited value you’ll get from your points. Additionally, points transfer at a weak 250:200 transfer ratio. This means 10,000 Amex points transfer to 8,000 JetBlue points, so you’ll also lose value in the transfer. Plus, you’ll be subject to the federal excise tax offset fee for these transactions.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 250:200

Related: How to earn points in the JetBlue TrueBlue program

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Qantas Frequent Flyer is another Amex transfer partner. Qantas is a Oneworld member with non-alliance partnerships with a handful of airlines worldwide. Like many international airlines on this list, Qantas has a classic flights award chart.

You may want to transfer Amex points to Qantas to book El Al award tickets. Amex lost El Al as a transfer partner in 2020, but Qantas is a great way to book flights on the Israeli airline. El Al awards booked with Qantas require fewer points than if you were to transfer Amex points to El Al in the past.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: A perfect hop across the Pacific: Qantas 787 business class

Qatar Airways Privilege Club

Qatar Airways Privilege Club is one of the newest Amex transfer partners since Qatar switched to Avios currency last year. You can transfer Avios freely between British Airways and Qatar Airways, but we recommend comparing British and Qatar Airways award rates before booking.

Generally, you’ll want to use British Airways to book partner-operated flights, but occasionally, Qatar Airways Avios can save on taxes and fees on Qatar-operated flights.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: Close to perfect: Qatar Qsuite on a 777-300ER from Doha to New York JFK

Singapore KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350ULR Business JFK SIN

Singapore KrisFlyer is another Star Alliance transfer partner. It has two award charts: one for Singapore Airlines awards (PDF link) and another for Star Alliance award tickets (PDF link). You can also use the airline’s miles calculator tool to view how many miles a Singapore-operated award flight costs. Just note that the program was devalued in July 2022, so you’ll pay more than in years past.

On the Singapore side, you’ll pay a fair amount of points for these flights. That said, it’s generally the only program you can use to book premium-cabin awards on Singapore Airlines flights. This includes first-class Singapore Suites and business class on the world’s longest flight.

Some partner tickets are reasonable, too. One of the best uses is spending 19,500 points for a one-way ticket from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii on United Airlines.

The program does tack on fuel surcharges for partner awards. This is not the case for flights on United, but it can be costly on flights operated by Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and other airlines that add fuel surcharges.

Transfer time: Up to 24 hours

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

You can use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points for flights operated by Virgin Atlantic and its partners. We generally recommend staying away from booking Virgin Atlantic flights with points, as you’re subject to high fuel surcharges.

For example, when there’s award space, you can use 50,000 points to book a one-way flight from the U.S. to Europe in Delta One business class with minimal taxes and fees. Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic devalued other Delta awards in early 2021, but the Europe sweet spot has remained.

You can also use Virgin Atlantic points to score a great deal on ANA first and business class. First-class awards start at just 145,000 points round trip from the U.S. to Tokyo, which is an excellent deal even with the recent devaluation.

Transfer time: Roughly 24 hours

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Choice Privileges

Choice Privileges is one of Amex’s hotel transfer partners. The program is known for its budget-friendly hotels worldwide, including well-known brands like Cambria Hotels, Comfort Inn and Sleep Inn. It also recently integrated Radisson Rewards Americas, giving members more options for earning (and redeeming) points.

Award prices vary by property and date. You’re generally best off paying cash for most Choice awards instead of transferring Amex points.

However, under some circumstances, it can make sense to transfer points to Choice. For example, a one-night stay at the Blue Angel Hotel NYC, Ascend Hotel Collection costs $538.63 after taxes in September. The same night can be booked for 30,000 points, giving you a value of 1.8 cents per point. Although that doesn’t quite touch our 2-cent valuation of Amex points, Choice may be worth considering in select circumstances.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: 6 ways Choice Privileges should improve its loyalty program

Hilton Honors

Sign for a Hilton hotel

Amex Membership Rewards points transfer to Hilton Honors at a favorable 1:2 transfer ratio, so 10,000 Amex points equals 20,000 Hilton Honors points. We also see transfer bonuses on a regular basis, which can add even more value. Hilton does price awards dynamically, but most properties still have a ceiling on these rates. As a result, even though point rates can be high when booking on peak dates, transferring points can give you decent value.

For example, a stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York Times Square West this New Year’s Eve costs 80,000 Hilton points, which would be just 40,000 Amex points. However, that same room would set you back $1,014.47. For this redemption, you’re getting a value of 2.5 cents per Amex point.

However, less than two weeks later (for the night of Jan. 9, 2024), that same room can be booked for 36,000 Hilton points (18,000 Amex points) or $164.31. That’s just 0.9 cents per Amex point, well below our valuations.

This shows how important it is to crunch the numbers and see if transferring points from Amex to Hilton makes sense. In many cases, you’ll likely get a low redemption value, so you’ll want to focus on earning Hilton points outright if you plan to redeem points for Hilton stays.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:2.

Related: 8 ways to maximize Hilton Honors redemptions

Marriott Bonvoy

Finally, we have Marriott Bonvoy.

Similar to Choice and Hilton, we rarely recommend transferring points to Marriott. Award nights have relatively high costs compared to cash rates. This will often cause you to get a low cent-per-point value, even with an occasional transfer bonus.

Like Hilton, consider earning Marriott Bonvoy points elsewhere to fuel your hotel redemptions.

Transfer time: Instant

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: 13 ways to redeem the Marriott 50K free night award

Bottom line

American Express Membership Rewards points are some of the most valuable points on the market. This is largely due to Amex’s extensive airline and hotel transfer partners list.

Here, we’ve given you a quick look at each partner — refer to this list as you decide how to best redeem your points.

Additional reporting by Juan Ruiz and Kyle Olsen.